On Friday morning, Sarah's brother Bill and sister-in-law Angie came by and picked us up for a weekend in the Utah desert. We drove to Green River and checked out the local melons which look very delicious. We then had some mexican food.
On saturday we hiked down a slot canyon called Little Blue John. This connects with Blue John canyon, and we hiked down this dry streambed as it connected with other drainages. At the bottom of the drainage, there is another slot called The Narrows, made famous by Aaron Ralston because this is the place where he pinned his hand under a small rock and had to cut off his lower arm to escape.
The Narrows ends with a dramatic rappel into the top of Horseshoe Canyon, and from there we hiked about 9 miles down the canyon to where we had staged a car. At this point it was well after dark and we were quite excited about not having to hike through loose river sand any more.
I had heard about Aaron Ralston's epic with subsequent TV appearances and book deals and I have to say that after visiting the site of the accident I am a little disappointed about the obviously over-hyped nature of his accident. Once he freed himself he was only about 5 minutes from the rappel and then after that he just had to walk on a gentle down-hill for a couple hours where he met up with some tourists who gave him water and helped him get out of the canyon. I'm not sure how you could get a book out of the ordeal because it could easily be summed up in a few pages.
The highlight of the day was visiting the Great Gallery, a mysterious collection of very large pictographs. Some of them resemble the Talaloc (sp?) men in Hueco Tanks, which are part of the Jornada-Mogillon culture. I'm not sure if there was any cross-pollenation between these areas but the paintings definitely seemed similar. One of the paintings had the color green, which I understand is quite rare in pictographs.
There was another collection of pictographs that was even more grand than the Great Gallery, but it was submerged when Lake Powell was filled. This is so depressing on so many levels I don't even want to think about it. Just imagine these symbols of an ancient culture slowly peeling off the walls of the rock, even as the bottom of the lake fills with silt and discarded beer bottles from houseboats full of bloated tourists.